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... the other Black experience

GOTH. The Aesthetic and The Subculture: Getting Past the Stupid Shit.

A while back I went through an ugly experience as a result of joining a goth chat line. To begin with, I was new to a conscious identification with the subculture and new to chat lines too, so I had some hurdles to jump. I didn't expect I'd have to jump them in a mine field though. The worst of it: Three attacks were made on my computer (files stolen, virus planted, I lost a lot of stuff). This whole experience was my first encounter with goth as a subculture. I didn't expect the racism or the hostility and having gone through it, it threw me for a loop. It constituted an ugly truth about the subculture that I couldn't ignore.

Words by Spookycreep

The subculture is fine. It just has a few nuts in it. Nonetheless, I think those "nuts" need to be taken note of because there are evidently a lot of them. So much so that they are a distinct part of the subculture - the elitist snobs who won't stoop to be human beings. For a while afterwards I felt they were typical of the subculture and to be a goth meant having to live under their shadow. It's as if dogma had been set up and woe to any goth that breaks the commandments - chief among them: thou shall not ask what is goth.

There is a word for bullshit like this: collectivism. The belief that the individual should be subordinated to the group. This is a BIG problem with me. I've always been of the frame of mind to where the group can kiss my ass. I am the boss of me. I'm all for identifying with given groups, Afro-punk for example, the Satanic for another, but when the group thinks it can dictate how one is suppose to think and feel, it's time to tear the group to shreds.

And so, after my experience with the chat line, my view of the subculture had soured. Even finding black goth videos didn't change that. The best I could see for goths of color was equal but separate but that sucked too. And there were other factors to consider as well, like the fact that not all goths - not even those on the chat line - are assholes.

So I found myself with a dilemma. How did I work my way through it? I took a look at all the steps that led me to join the chat line. In a nutshell, I 've always liked dark things. Horror movies, dark music, grey days to sunshine and wandering in out of the way places. I was a fan of goth music even before I knew what goth was and had been painitng the nail of my pinky on my left hand, black for even longer. Given these dark inclinations, it was inevitable that once I discovered the subculture I would love it. Who would have thought? The Addams family is real.

In the course of taking this walk down memory lane, it became apparent to me that the dumb-asses of the subculture have nothing to do with my love of the dark and there's no reason in the world why I should listen to them. They didn't create the subculture and no matter how common place such idiots may be, they don't make the rules either. Having come to this conclusion, the goof-balls went "poof" and vanished into thin air.

Also, as a result of my look back, a definition of goth that I can live with presents itself. It is two things: an aesthetic and a subculture. You can express the aesthetic without being a part of the subculture but the reverse is not true. Everyone knows what the goth aesthetic is, one that finds beauty in dark things but what of goth as a subculture?

It's a spooky subculture. Granted, it has other elements as well but spooky is primary and the defining one. Goth is a subculture that expresses its love of the dark through all of the arts, philosophy, as well as lifestyle. This last is a bit trickier, what does it mean to have a goth lifestyle?

It's to have a lifestyle that reflects what you perceive to be fundamental to your identity. Your core being you could say most goths will tell you that they never feel more like themselves until they are "gothed out".

Okay, the chat line thing didn't go too well. Fuck it. My next move is to check out some clubs. My exploration continues. I'm hardly an old hand at being a part of this subculture but I don't think I'm a baby bat anymore either. I'm a teenage bat perhaps and hopefully an intelligent one. I was a teenage bat! Yeah, that sounds about right, has a vintage ring to it too.

Images from templetresses.blogspot.com

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Comment by XBlack Silkx on January 17, 2013 at 4:44am

I felt I have always been Gothic, even before I knew what it was. It has always and will always will be apart of me.

Comment by Oktoberschilde on August 22, 2011 at 8:07am
Fly Darling Fly You have points powerful ones. keep it alive
Comment by Mistr3ss Raven on July 30, 2011 at 9:14pm
Interesting.
Comment by Amanda Tea on July 19, 2011 at 11:19pm
Its important to be yourself no matter what and go by your own rules, no one else's. I think the lifestyle is just how you put it ,a love for things dark through art philosophy,writing, clothing etc. dark being the key word there.I dont think its good to overanalyze things though lol.They deal with this same discussion in all the other subcultures and obviously no one is going to get it exactly right.   Definitely check out some clubs! Its just nice sometimes to be around others that share the same interests as well as the same music as you do and just have fun. There are always going to be jerks in the sub culture that exist for the sole purpose to try and divert you i learned with time to ignore and not take them serious.
Comment by Audrey Johnson on July 13, 2011 at 6:10pm
The Goth subculture was the first thing that got me interested in rock. I always loved the clothes but did not always have the occasion to listen to the music. Although I have never been a Punk I also loved the music and subculture.
Comment by Nelly Dee on July 12, 2011 at 12:09pm
I never really was part of the goth subculture...I think I was in between punk and goth...regardless, I always love the style of goth. I hung out with a lot of punk and goth kids in middle school, and I never had a problem joining their group. I manged to become one of them without being called a poser.
Comment by 1truCadenza on July 6, 2011 at 11:32pm
Im kinda young and stuff but i feel like as someone who loves the aesthetic i can understand some of the hostility. its kind of like goth represents a feeling and time that's fleeting. a set of values that are seemingly disappearing in present society. being precious and romantic, they will protect it the only way they know how. id like to say they want to see that people present themselves as someone who cares as much as they do.  Not saying you aren't but I get what you're saying. Personally the computer can never express what facial expression and tone of voice can :)
Comment by Satan's Crow on July 6, 2011 at 7:54pm
   The Deacon: Emo is a spin-off of goth but most goths are not amused. Too cute and sweet.
Comment by The Deacon on July 3, 2011 at 9:59pm

      Didn't know people took this Goth thing this serious. At least no more than any other subculture that pop up. Side point, is Emo a spin off of Goth?

      The extent of my relationship with goth is Sisters of Mercy, which put out some hot dance music in the late 80's early 90's. And I've heard Andrew Eldritch in a few interviews;  not the sort of cat I imagine having a cup of tea with; but the music is great.
    

Comment by High Yellow Theory on July 1, 2011 at 11:54pm
Hey,I heard there was free beer here so I came as quick as I could.


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